Established in 1982, at Brendan Fleming Solicitors we specialise in Family Law, offering our clients expert legal advice in both Public and Private Law matters, including Care Proceedings, Non-Accidental Injury, Divorce & Children’s Proceedings and issues with Social Services.

 

Contact Brendan Fleming Solicitors by emailing info@brendanfleming.co.uk or by calling 0800 246 5147

 

Contact our Non-Accidental Injury Department on 0800 246 5147 or 07730 143 432. If it is out of hours, you can call our staffed 24 hour helpline on 0121 683 5000. Alternatively you can email us on help@nonaccidentalinjury.co.uk

Our Location

165 Newhall Street
St. Paul’s Square
Birmingham B3 1SW

 

0800 246 5147

 

info@brendanfleming.co.uk

 

Legal Aid

Legal Aid

Brendan Fleming Solicitors are contracted with the Legal Aid Agency and can provide Legal Aid, known as Public Funding, subject to eligibility.

In 2012, the Legal Aid system was reformed and saw the introduction of The Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 (LASPO).

The introduction of LASPO resulted in Legal Aid being removed for many cases where it had previously been available.
Legal Aid is available for Public Law proceedings e.g. care proceedings and adoption, subject to eligibility/availability.
Determining what services are now excluded is complex, but generally Legal Aid will not be available for private family law matters UNLESS there is proof of domestic abuse, unlawful child abduction, child abuse, forced marriage or where the child requires representation. In addition to this proof, there are strict rules on how much money and capital you can have to be eligible for Legal Aid.

Brendan Fleming Solicitors are contracted with the Legal Aid Agency and can provide Legal Aid, known as Public Funding, subject to eligibility.

In 2012, the Legal Aid system was reformed and saw the introduction of The Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 (LASPO).

The introduction of LASPO resulted in Legal Aid being removed for many cases where it had previously been available.
Legal Aid is available for Public Law proceedings e.g. care proceedings and adoption, subject to eligibility/availability.
Determining what services are now excluded is complex, but generally Legal Aid will not be available for private family law matters UNLESS there is proof of domestic abuse, unlawful child abduction, child abuse, forced marriage or where the child requires representation. In addition to this proof, there are strict rules on how much money and capital you can have to be eligible for Legal Aid.

Gateway Checklist:

Police/Criminal and Court Evidence:

  • A relevant unspent conviction for a domestic violence offence
  • A relevant police caution for a domestic violence offence given within the 5-year period immediately preceding the date of the application for legal aid
  • Evidence of relevant criminal proceedings for a domestic violence offence which have not concluded
  • Evidence that the abuser is on police bail for a domestic violence offence
  • A domestic violence protection notice or a domestic violence protection order against the abuser within the 5 year period immediately preceding the date of the application for legal aid
  • A conviction for a domestic violence offence where the abuser was convicted of that offence within a 5 year period immediately preceding the date of the application for legal aid.
  • a protective injunction which is in force or which was granted within the 5 year period immediately preceding the date of the application for legal aid
  • evidence of a court order binding over the abuser in connection with a domestic violence offence, which is in force or which was granted within the 5 year period immediately preceding the date of application for legal aid
  • an undertaking given by the abuser within the 5 year period immediately preceding the date of the application for legal aid, provided that a cross-undertaking was not given by the person applying for legal aid
  • a copy that there was a finding of fact that there has been domestic violence by the abuser giving rise to a risk of harm to the person applying for Legal Aid. The finding of fact must have been made by a court in the UK the 5 year period immediately preceding the date of the application for Legal Aid.

Health and Social Evidence:

  • a letter from any person who is a member of a multi-agency risk assessment conference confirming that— (i) the applicant was referred to the conference as a victim of domestic violence; and (ii) the conference has, within the 5 year period immediately preceding the date of the application for legal aid, put in place a plan to protect the applicant from a risk of harm by the abuser
  • a letter or report from a health professional who has access to the medical records of the applicant for legal aid, confirming that that professional, or another health professional— (i) has examined the applicant in person within the 5 year period immediately preceding the date of the application for civil legal service; and (ii) was satisfied following that examination that the applicant had injuries or a condition consistent with those of
  • a victim of domestic violence
  • a letter from a social services department in England or Wales (or its equivalent in Scotland or Northern Ireland) confirming that, within the 5 year period immediately preceding the date of the application, the applicant was assessed as being, or at risk of being, a victim of domestic violence by the abuser (or a copy of the assessment)
  • a letter or report from a domestic violence support organisation in the United Kingdom confirming— (i) that within the 5 year period immediately preceding the date of the application for legal aid, the applicant had been accommodated in a refuge; (ii) the dates on which she was admitted and, where relevant, left the refuge; and (iii) that she was admitted to the refuge because of allegations of domestic violence
  • a letter or report from a domestic violence support organisation in the United Kingdom confirming— (i) that the applicant was, within the 5 year period immediately preceding the date of the application for legal aid, refused admission to a refuge, on account of there being insufficient accommodation available in the refuge; and (ii) the date on which she was refused admission to the refuge
  • a letter or report from— (i) the person to whom the referral described below was made; (ii) the health professional who made the referral described below; or (iii) a health professional who has access to the medical records of the applicant, confirming that there was, within the 5 year period immediately preceding the date of the application for legal aid, a referral by a health professional of the applicant to a person who provides specialist support or assistance for victims of, or those at risk of, domestic violence

Financial Abuse

Financial abuse will now be considered by the legal aid agency, examples of this need to be within 5 years of applying for Legal aid and could include:

  • copies of both the victims and the perpetrator’s bank statements and or
  • cancelled cheques, relevant letters from banks
  • credit card accounts, loan documents and statements
  • business financial statements, employee benefit records including insurance,
  • stock options and bonuses
  • letter from a domestic violence support organisation
  • money order receipts
  • documentation about any public assistance received
  • emails, text messages, diary kept by the victim,
  • letters from employers or from an education

The rules in relation to legal Aid are strict and complicated. You may be able to check if you are likely to qualify for Legal Aid by visiting the Legal Aid section at www.justive.gov.uk

If you think you may be eligible for Legal Aid, please contact us and confirm the area which you require legal advice.

Where a non-accidental injury is suspected, there are many issues that will need to be considered including the timing/age of the alleged injury, the degree of force needed to cause it, how such an injury can be caused (the mechanism), the presentation of the child and, most importantly, the differentiation between natural causes (medical conditions), accidental causes and non-accidental causes.

 

When an injury has been identified, either with no explanation or with an explanation that the doctors do not accept explains the injuries sustained, it is likely that social services will become involved for the protection of the child whilst investigations are ongoing and the Local Authority will start care proceedings. It is vital that parents seek legal advice from an experienced care solicitor who specialises in this field as soon as possible where non-accidental injury is suspected.
Some injuries to a child can show obvious signs whilst others are discovered upon further medical exploration. What is not always so obvious are the underlying reasons why the injury may have presented itself or the real circumstances which lie behind it.

 

A major part of our job as your solicitors is to listen to you and help you to provide the evidence needed to explore your side of the story. All too often professionals dealing with injuries to children jump to conclusions that the injury must have been caused non-accidentally if they are told that the injuries to not fit with the explanation provided.

That very often includes getting new and impartial professionals to review the evidence, photos, doctors reports and reports from social services to get all the data about what happened. Sometimes we even get totally new examinations done, where considered necessary and through the process of getting all that additional evidence we can often show a different story to what a parent is being accused of.

 

Brendan Fleming have been at the forefront of providing representation for non-accidental injury cases for a number of years. We have a specialist department consisting of Rebecca Ward and Zoe Brettle. The department is headed up by Rebecca Ward.

 

 

To find out more about the non-accidental department and the specialist work that we do, including some case studies, please refer to our dedicated website: http://nonaccidentalinjury.co.uk/

 

Should you require our assistance please contact us on 0121 683 5000 where we will be happy to assist.

Contact Us In Confidence

Arrange a consultation – 0800 246 5147. Or email us at info@brendanfleming.co.uk